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Boating safety tips for the Fourth of July weekend

Posted at 10:49 PM, Jul 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-01 23:49:57-04

BRYAN, Texas — Temperatures are heating up and everyone’s wanting to hit the lake for the Fourth of July, but here’s some safety tips to keep in mind before you do.

“We’ll go through the water safety act and we’re looking for the life jacket, top four square, the fire extinguisher, the lanyard, the boater registration,” said David Thorne, Game Warden, Texas Parks, and Wildlife. “All those things to make sure everybody is safe.”

Game Warden David Thorne said life vests are the number one piece they look for in their water safety act.

Megan Brown with Bryan Texas Utilities says children must wear a life vest at all times.

“Children actually have to wear them and have them on while they’re on the boat,” said Meagan Brown, PIO, Bryan Texas Utilities. “Adults don’t necessarily have to have them on while they’re on the boat, but they do have to have enough life jackets for those on board.”

Thorne says part of their safety check includes looking for a kill switch lanyard, one of the most vital pieces on the boat besides life vests.

“If something happens, boat gets out of control, the driver goes overboard or gets too far away from the console where he’s not in control anymore, it kills it,” said Thorne. “It kills the boat. The motor dies. Everything comes to a stop.”

Brown says while people may want to drink, it can be dangerous for others on the boat or in the water

“We just want you to do that responsibly and not do that and drive because it’s just like drinking and driving a vehicle,” said Brown. “You don’t need to drink and drive a boat.”

Thorne says boating while driving is equivalent to drinking and driving.

“Boating while intoxicated comes with the same penalty as driving while intoxicated,” said Thorne. “You can drink while you’re on the boat, but the operator cannot be impaired.”

Boats don’t have breaks. You get somebody that drinks too much, they’re impaired, it’s just a bad recipe.”

As for fireworks, Lake Bryan will prohibit any fireworks or open fires due to the burn ban but you can bring a small enclosed firepit.

“Please don’t bring your own fireworks, they are not allowed in the park anyway, especially during a burn ban,” said Brown. “I think we’ve all been hearing little fires popping up everywhere. We also cannot have open fires.”

Brown also recommends you have a buddy system to ensure no one gets lost in the water.

The lake is expected to be quite crowded this weekend so make sure your boat is gassed up, everyone on board has a life vest, take a boat safety course, and stay hydrated to ensure you have a safe and fun Fourth of July weekend.